There’s mixed news from the Arsenal camp ahead of our clash with Sunderland, with Arsene Wenger delivering the team news in his pre-match press conference (via Arsenal.com).
We all knew we’d be without some key names heading into this game, and Wenger confirmed that both Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla would be out for undetermined amounts of times – as would Mikel Arteta.
There’s good news too though, as the manager went on to say that Laurent Koscielny and Theo Walcott could both be fit for duty. The Frenchman seems to have recovered from a hip injury sustained against Norwich, while Walcott could make his return after a spell on the sidelines following an injury against Sheffield Wednesday.
Kieran Gibbs has also recovered from a slight knock, and is available for selection against the Black Cats.
It seems unlikely that Walcott will start the game, as he is only just returning from a lengthy spell out. Gibbs is also unlikely to get the nod from the get go, as he is firmly second choice behind Nacho Monreal at the moment, who has been excellent once again this season.
Koscielny would seem to have the best chance of starting out of the three, although if he’s not fully fit Wenger won’t hesitate to use Gabriel Paulista.
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Sunderland have far fewer injury concerns, and have actually been in resurgent form in recent weeks – with Sam Allardyce guiding his side to two wins on the trot. Thankfully one of their main goal threats is likely to miss the game though, with Jermaine Defoe out with a hamstring injury (via The Guardian). Former Arsenal star Seb Larsson also looks likely to miss the game.
A home game against Sunderland is seen as a comparatively easy game where the Premier League is concerned, but the same was said about West Bromwich Albion and Norwich. We’ve really let our grip on things slip in the last few weeks, and need to ensure we get back on track with a win this weekend.
Things were looking really positive ahead of what appeared to be an excellent run of fixtures, but a disastrous November and a huge number of injuries have really put a dampener on things. Hopefully December proves to be a far better month for Arsenal, and we are able to force our way back up the table ahead of Christmas.
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We need to make sure we start be sending Sunderland home pointless this weekend, keeping all three of those precious points at the Emirates.